There has been lots of emphasis in recent years about being present, and for good reason. In this state, we can detach from stress, calm our minds, are more easily able to access our true selves, and enjoy life around us.
What this essentially boils down to is being in our bodies. At any given time, most of our energy is not in our bodies. It’s in the future, or in the past, or in our minds, but not in our physical bodies. Being in our bodies allows us to be in the moment and when we are in the moment, we are not stressed about future events, pressuring ourselves with to-do lists, or repeating past conversations and scenarios in our heads. It quiets the energy around us and allows us to take in whatever activity we are engaged in.
Here are a couple of quick ways to bring your awareness back into your body. You’ll notice that when you do these exercises, you will instantly feel more connected to ourself and things will quiet down around you.
exercise 01 | place both hands over your heart, close your eyes and take three slow deep breaths. this is a brilliant exercise that takes no time at all and will quickly get you to connect to your body. though deep breathing is always great, the additional gesture of touch helps focus us into our bodies and heart space in an immediate way.
exercise 02 | in a sitting position, simply close your eyes and focus on a center point in your body, this could be the center of your hips, the center of your chest, or the center of the inside of your head. now simply call back your energy from wherever it may be outside you. imagine it coming back from the past, the future, memories, conversations, wherever and whomever it may currently be with, and feel it collecting back in this space within you. once it is all back with you, take a deep breath and open your eyes. you should feel calmer and more connected with yourself.
Here are some additional ways to gauge how present you are in your day to day life:
when you are walking from one place to another, say leaving work to go to your car… are you noticing the people and places around you? the temperature of the air, trees or flowers in bloom?
when preparing a meal - are you present to the sensations of the food you are prepping, it’s freshness or texture, the smell of the herbs, the sounds of things cooking?
when eating, are you tasting our food and chewing your food? one of my favorite ways to be in my body when I’m eating is to pay attention to how long I chew my food. for proper digestion it is said that you should chew each bite of food at least 30 times (or until it dissolves). it sounds a little gross but I did this exercise for about a week and was surprised by how much it showed me about my eating patterns. give it a try for just one meal and you’ll see what I mean…
when you are showering, are you taking in the temperature of the water? noticing how it feels on your body? this is a great time to enjoy the moment and refresh yourself. water is incredibly healing and taking time to absorb this ritual can be a luxurious experience.
driving is another time when we often leave our bodies. are you present to your drive? notice whether you feel relaxed or tense? are you seeing the things you are driving past? again, this is another time when you can’t really do anything else and since most of us drive alone, it can serve as a great space to take some time for yourself, enjoy the ride and be present to your moment.